“What am I doing to move forward?” This question has been rattling around my mind since the beginning of this year. And much of it has to do with the amount of change and tension that I’m feeling for some things going on various things happening in a professional capacity (versus a personal capacity 🙂).
There are some changes that have happened to Pressware. All the while, I’m doing what I can to make sure I’m investing not only in myself but the business, as well.
Of course, nothing I’m going to say is unique to web development, technology, or a software business in general.
This just happens to be the industry I know.
Here’s the challenge, though: There are more than a handful of things on which we can focus. But if we pick too many things on which to focus, it’s hard to really focus on anything to the degree that’s going to have any meaningful benefit.
That’s not revolutionary. It’s common sense, right?
So What Am I Doing to Move Forward?
But this brings me back to the original question (as well as its multiple facets): What am I doing to move forward…
- as a programmer,
- as a business owner,
- as a leader?
If you’re like me, some of those things carry a bit more weight than others. For example, I got into computing at a young age, and I’ve had an interest in software since I was old enough to write my first subroutine in Visual Basic 3.
And what about the challenges that come with running a business? For some, it’s easier to want to be self-employed than it is to be self-employed.
It’s also naturally easier to lead myself than it is to work with a group of others and make sure that I’m focused on project management, business development, and all of the things that come with that.
Then again, having a team of people with whom you work, tackle problems, chat during the day, isn’t something I’d want to change. At least not at this point.
So leadership? It’s not that I’ve never been interested. It’s just that it wasn’t something I found myself wanting to pursue at a young age. And it certainly wasn’t something I was reading books about in my teen years (though I don’t know if many do). Even now, though I have an interest in it, it’s honestly not on the highest end of my interests, either.
So now there’s a balance to strike with making sure I’m staying up to date with certain programming paradigms related to my segment in the industry as well as making sure that I’m understanding and working on the attributes that make for a good leader.
Sure, there are other things you could throw into the mix, but it would begin to dilute the point to which I’m working. And that’s the same question that I started with: Though it’s something that’s occupying space in my mind, I think it’s necessary to be asking “what am I doing to move forward?”
What I’m Trying to Do Consistently
And employment – regardless of if it’s for yourself or someone else – is no different. As of 2017, these are the things I’ve been doing to try to make sure I’m moving forward in all of the ways I want:
- There are a few books and podcasts I try to listen to on a regular basis (at the time of this post, I’m reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less).
- Unless I’m sick, I aim to workout at least one hour a day for five days a week. I’m still working on a post as a follow-up to my fitness post from some time ago (it’s taking a long time as it’s a long post). And I try to work standing up as much as possible.
- I’m working on focusing on both free and premium resources for aiming to focus on existing and new skills, and I’m making sure friends are checking in periodically to see how I’m doing both with those and on other personal things, too.
- I’m looking to employ new techniques, tools, technologies, APIs, or other things that are worth trying out in projects as they allow for them.
And above all else, I seek to remember the following whenever I start each week:
- Start with “No.”
- The following four points I read during the first week of the year:
- Think abundantly,
- Plan intentionally,
- Execute consistently,
- Celebrate frequently.
I could do better with the fourth point. Right now, it’s easy for me to wrap a project and move on to the next without doing more than evaluating how it went, making a note on what to improve next time around, and moving on to the next thing.
A Beneficial, Uneven Tradeoff
It reads like it’s a lot of work. That is, it reads like it takes an entire day of other work to fit this in. But the truth is, it’s a combination of time management, not fitting all of it into one day, and creatively putting it to use.
Sometimes it’s listening to a book when you’re driving to wherever it is you’re headed. Other times, it’s pinging someone on Slack or via email or DMs on Twitter to make sure you’re working through whatever resource or fitness plan you said you were going to be doing for the month.
Other times, it’s direct self-discipline such that you’re writing down things as they happen, your thoughts around them, and maybe even presenting them for others to read.
And, naturally, it might be cutting out something that feels like it’s generating forward motion but is stopping inertia in more important areas.
Case in point: For me, I don’t use certain social networks or use them on my phone. In fact, I don’t always participate when things are happening.
I’m late to the game enough such that you can ask some of my friends to confirm this: There are times where I have to ask them “what started the outrage on today?” And I’m someone who tries to read the news several times a day.
No, I don’t want to miss out on anything. But paradoxically, that’s exactly what I’m opting to do when I decide to step away from one thing and focus on others.
We’ve all heard the “saying no to one thing is saying yes to something else,” but sometimes I think that saying “no” to a few things give us much more freedom, time, and ability to move forward with one more thing.
It’s an uneven tradeoff, and I like it.
Regardless, there are a lot of ways in which we can move forward. And though I’d not necessarily consider myself someone who has it figured out, I’m certainly working towards making sure I’m further along today than I was yesterday.